If Politicians Had to Debug Laws Like Software, They’d Fix the Bugs
In the spring, members of Congress set off to fly home for a holiday—and ran into mammoth lines at the airports. Why were things so bad? Because of airport furloughs caused by the “sequester.” The sequester, you may recall, is the ridiculous measure Congress passed when members couldn’t agree on a budget, and it mandates across-the-board cuts.
Critics warned that the sequester would cause hardship throughout the country, but congress-folk didn’t care — until they had to share in the pain. When they discovered that the sequester was eating into their vacation time, they rushed back to the Capitol and passed a law restoring funding to airports, working so fast that part of the bill was handwritten.
Congress, it turns out, isn’t paralyzed. It’s just not motivated. In this spirit, there’s one simple way to get our do-nothing legislators off the dime: Have them eat their own dog food.
In the software world, “dogfooding” is when programmers force themselves to use their own products, day in and day out. Microsoft coders invented the term in the 1980s, and the practice spread. Dogfooding works because when you’re forced to live with your own code, you quickly diagnose problems — and how to solve them.